Narrative Writing: Structure

Narrative Writing: Structure

Understanding Structure in Narrative Writing

  • Structure is the organisation of events in a narrative that shapes the story and impacts how it’s understood.
  • Creating a strong structure can add clarity, maintain cohesion, and heighten drama or suspense.
  • A typical structure follows the pattern of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution but variations can add complexity or surprise.

Planning Your Story’s Structure

  • Begin by defining the key scenes of your story: the start, the end, and significant moments of change.
  • Plot your main events on the story arc. This framework illustrates the rise and fall of tension.
  • Know your characters’ goals and motivations, these can affect timing and pivot points in your story.

Building the Story’s Exposition

  • The exposition, or beginning, introduces characters, setting and works to establish the mood of the story.
  • Use introductory descriptions to set the scene and provide insights into character.
  • Introduce a conflict or question that propels the action forward.

Creating Rising Action and Climax

  • The rising action is a sequence of events that builds from the conflict and drives towards the climax.
  • Each event should progressively increase the tension and stakes, compelling the reader to continue.
  • The climax is the turning point of the story where emotions and tensions reach their peak.

Navigating the Falling Action and Resolution

  • The falling action follows after the climax, dealing with the consequences of the pivotal event.
  • It allows for transition and reflection, tying in loose ends, before the story concludes.
  • The resolution closes the narrative where the conflicts should be resolved or a sense of closure provided.

Employing Flashbacks and Flashforwards

  • Flashbacks and flashforwards offer non-linear pathways in your narrative structure, instigating mystery or suspense.
  • Use them to reveal significant past or future events, character depth, or boost thematic resonance.
  • Ensure the transitions to and from these segments are clear to maintain story coherence and reader comprehension.

Structuring Multiple Storylines or Perspectives

  • If your narrative has multiple storylines or perspectives, consider when and how these will intertwine.
  • Use structural divides like chapters or marked sections to segregate different points of view.
  • Maintain consistency in pacing and progress across all threads to ensure overall balance and cohesion.

Importance of Endings in Narrative Structure

  • An effective ending provides satisfaction by addressing main plot points and conflicts, offering resolution or hinting at ongoing lives of characters.
  • It’s often a mirror to the beginning, tying up thematic elements or echoing initial set-ups.
  • Avoid abrupt ends, while ensuring not to drag it out too long post climax. Always consider the reader’s journey.